Previously: Growing in knowledge engenders more questions
There are several possibilities for the meaning of this phrase. One of them, we talked about last time: that it is referring to the special numbered sabbaths which fall between the feast of Unleavened Bread and Weeks, or Pentecost.
Another is this:
That it is a Hebraism, a Hebraic idiom. The Hebrews did not have names for the days of the week, other than the seventh day, the Sabbath. All the other days were named for their relation to the Sabbath.
So the first day of the week was referred to as one day from (or of) the Sabbath; idiomatically “mia (one) ton (of the) sabbaton (sabbath-s).” “Day” was implied; and sabbaton is not plural in this case. The day which is one day from the Sabbath, is Sunday, the first day of the week.
This is the way the phrase mia ton sabbaton is used in the Gospels when describing the discovery of Jesus risen from the dead. For example, in John 20:
“Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came early to the tomb, while it was still dark, and saw the stone already taken away from the tomb.” John 20:1
It is mia ton sabbaton, literally, “one of the sabbaths,” or idiomatically, “one (day) from the sabbath(s);” i.e. Sunday, or the first day of the week.
But why did Mary go to the tomb while it was still dark; why not wait for the light of day? To understand a plausible explanation, which will also shed light on our Acts 20:7 passage, we have to understand 1st century Hebrew culture again.
To be continued …